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Somerville, 2013: 'You People Came Here For the Money'

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A developer wants to build 120 apartments on an empty parcel in the deeper reaches of East Somerville. Criterion Development, they of the new Vox on Two on Route 2 in Cambridge, would put the five-story, 120,000-square-foot building on a Stop & Shop-owned site at Cross Street and I-93. A carrot for the community would be a fresh park to replace the old Harris Playground.

The community is decidedly unimpressed, with the new park and with the 120 new apartments in an area in desperate need of new housing (62 percent of Somerville's housing, according to the city, predates World War II). First, the park: It's not enough. As one resident at a recent public hearing pointed out to Criterion, they would need to cultivate a forest to filter the car-exhaust-befouled air in the area. Second, the car-exhaust-befouled air: The 120 apartments would mean dozens of new cars in the area on a regular basis. Criterion plans to build up to 150 parking spaces to assure each apartment of at least one parking space; but another resident helpfully pointed out that most American households have at least two cars.

So where does the Cross Street apartment complex stand? Take it away, Somerville News! "One man stood up and told the Criterion team to 'go back to the drawing board.' One woman looked at them and said, 'You people come here for the money.'"
· Criterion Developers vs. City of Somerville [News]
· SomerVision Sees 6,000 New Homes, Lots of Green Line Riders [Curbed Boston]

[Photo from The Somerville News]